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What is the Famous 12-Step Program?


The 12-Step Program was created by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous as a set of guidelines to help overcome addiction. It is an instruction manual for recovery. Other addiction support groups have tailored the steps to fit their own needs, but they are of the same principles. Those in drug and alcohol recovery are encouraged to revisit these 12 steps at any time.


Where the 12-Steps Began


The 12-Step Model was created in 1938 by founder Bill Wilson who created the steps with his experiences with alcoholism. He wrote this program in the Big Book which explains the steps. Originally, the steps were a guide for people who couldn’t attend AA meetings.


The Idea Behind the 12-Steps


The idea behind the 12-Step model is so that people can help one another achieve and maintain abstinence from alcohol and drug addictions. Through meetings and shared experiences with one another and by supporting one another, it further promotes remaining sober. By using the 12-Steps it allows the individual to recognize and admit that they have a problem, to surrender to the fact that their addiction exists, and to seek control of it. It also encourages self-observation and self-awareness, as well as, a chance to practice restraint and build self-esteem. In addition, it promotes self-acceptance, the ability to change, and compassion.


The Steps Are:


1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


The 12 Step model is famous enough, but does it actually work? Since the two major drug and alcohol recovery groups have the word anonymous in their names, it is hard to get analytical research on the matter. However, the 12 Step model allows for encouragement, support, accountability, and a list of guidelines to follow. The 12 Steps combined with regular meetings and sponsorship, will allow for a smooth transition back to daily life and sober living.


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